The NFL lockout has given many teams an excuse to trim payroll. Cuts (or furloughs) for coaches and staff are reported to have hit the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaquars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Tampa Bay Bucs.
Greedy owners? Sure. Greedier than other teams that aren't cutting payroll? Perhaps.
The Denver Broncos are one of several teams who have said they won't be cutting back.
They should be lauded for the move, but not for some moral, ethical, or emotional argument. They should be lauded because it's smart business.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Many of you will recall former Denver backup QB Matt Mauck, best known for having guided LSU to a share of the 2003 National Championship with Southern Cal as a 24-year-old junior. What you may not remember is that Mauck, who spent three years in the Cubs organization before heading to LSU, was rumored to be considering dental school over his final year of eligibility and a possible NFL career. This turned out to be untrue, and Denver selected him in the seventh round of the 2004 Draft. Mauck did not appear in a game during his one year in Denver before spending three seasons with the Titans.
So why are we talking about Mauck today? Well, his story has come full circle - following his retirement from the NFL he headed to CU's dental school, from which he graduated last week - and Mauck will be returning to the Broncos as one of their team dentists. He will be working in their dental office and be on the sideline at the Big IF in case of player injuries. Rather than the more typical path of returning to football as a coach, Mauck has now gone from minor-league baseball player, to D-1 national champion, to backup NFL QB, to team dentist. Congratulations Matt, and welcome back!
My highly educated guess: one of them is the owners continuing to come down significantly from their original demand of taking another $1 billion off the top of player earnings. The players always believed this was an outrageous demand and the players were right.
Meanwhile, lawyers for the two sides appeared in St. Louis today before the Eighth Circuit to argue the validity of the lockout. According to Andrew Brandt, the tenor of the hearing was a direct contrast to that which was presided over by Judge Susan Nelson and resulted in the lockout injunction. Brandt writes that the two Republican-leaning judges appeared to be "empathetic to the Owners' argument" and expects they'll rule in the league's favor.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! In Woody's latest mailbag, he again makes the argument that Denver should sign Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams in free agency while listing a few alternatives including Ahmad Bradshaw of the G-Men. Interestingly, he says that it was Gary Kubiak who was most responsible for the Broncos having taken Terrell Davis back in 1995, not then-RBs coach Bobby Turner.
Paige also continues his burial of Knowshon, writing that the coaching staff is already convinced that Moreno "is not a big-time running back" and "doesn't have the skill set or the mind-set" to be one. It's interesting that Woody has consistently represented these opinions as belonging to the Broncos' brass. If Knowshon is as difficult a personality as Woodrow has made him out to be, perhaps the team feels the only/last way to get more out of the RB is to call him out in the local rag?
Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal has just tweeted the following:
The minnesota federal court has cancelled mediation set next week saying it is engaged in confidential settlement talks with the parties
Obviously we don't want to jump to any conclusions, but this is good news.
UPDATE 3:48PM ET - Liz Mullen has just shared Judge Boylan's order via Twitter:
Whereas, the Court has been engaged in confidential settlement discussions involving the above captioned matter it deems it appropriate to cancel the mediation session previously scheduled in Minneapolis for June 7 and June 8.
More to come...
Americans sure are a conflicted lot.
Perhaps it's our Puritan heritage mixed with a healthy dose of risk taking. After all, it requires a special type to flee religious persecution and immediately begin executing witches (good times!).
We've been battling our demons ever since.
Take sex, for instance. In 2004, we Americans collectively blew a gasket after seeing Janet Jackson's nipple during the Super Bowl. At the same time, the pornography industry outearned Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple,and Netflix combined. Gambling is another of our favorites. According to this research from Fairleigh Dickinson University, 53% of Americans oppose betting on college and pro sports, but 62% of these same Americans have gambled at a casino at least once.
The list goes on and on. Pick any topic, and it's likely Americans will have conflicted themselves in some manner.
Perhaps the biggest joke of them all is college athletics. Education and college athletics may be allowed on the same bus (or chartered jet), but education has to sit in the back.
This week, we were again reminded of this reality. Everyone's favorite grandfather in a sweater vest, Jim Tressel, resigned from Ohio State University.
UPDATE 2:30PM ET - The players and owners have released a brief joint statement which reads,
The parties met pursuant to court mediation. Owners and players were engaged in confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan. The court has ordered continued confidentiality of the mediation sessions.
According to Judy Battista, the meetings actually commenced earlier in the week and that while Judge Boylan was present, he did not preside over the negotiations. Plus, the nature of the meetings were so secretive that several NFL owners were not made aware of them until after they had already begun.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Gray Caldwell looks back at the Denver coaches' comments at the dinner they hosted a few weeks ago for corporate sponsors and suiteholders. DC Dennis Allen spoke about using a simple and attacking defense disguised to seem more complex through multiple alignments and personnel groupings. Meanwhile, ST coordinator Jeff Rodgers is excited by the Broncos' draft class, as he sees seven fast players - the linebackers, safeties and tight ends - who should contribute to his unit's success right from the start. Rodgers also offered more praise for his specialists Matt Prater, Britton Colquitt and Lonie Paxton, while interestingly pointing to Eddie Royal as a return man. Obviously this is a bit of word-parsing speculation, but those of us who want to see Eddie's role be exclusive to offense may not get our wish.
OC Mike McCoy said new RT Orlando Franklin would help the Broncos' offense become more physical, and that the team would like to have the dual threats at running back that were a signature of John Fox's Carolina teams. To that end, Fox told of wanting to improve the offensive balance to help the Broncos become more effective in the red zone.
The days of Alex Gibbs maintaining a gag order on the Broncos' offensive line are long in the past, and today let's point out that it's a good thing. Obviously, back then it was kind of funny - especially the kangaroo court rulings - but the main reason it was okay at the time was that the Broncos were winning, and racking up 1,000-yard backs like Raiders fans do felonies. The downside of that code of silence was it made it much harder to get to know our favorite 300+ pounders, even if today we may wish we didn't have to hear quite so much about Stink's chili. Thanks to the wonders of social meda and Twitter, we now have plenty of daily and unvarnished insight into the personalities and non-football activities of the Broncos' big guys. In that light, let's check in on some more recent bickering between Eric Olsen and Zane Beadles:
@EOlsen69 I don't know what's worse. The fact that you played lacrosse or the fact that you still have that picture. #livinginthepast
Olsen: @zanebeadles is jealous that he was never an athlete in his entire life. # Beadles: @EOlsen69 please... We can compare pasts #couldthrowtheballaquartermile
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Las Vegas Sun has a story on Denver's fourth-round pick Quinton Carter and his remarkable contributions to his community. The Vegas native and former Sooners safety started a charitable organization while a sophomore in college which helps children and low-income families through fundraisers and free football camps, with free medical care next on the horizon. This past weekend marked his group's third annual camp, during which Carter stressed the value of education and nutrition via lectures and classroom work in addition to time on the football field, and concluded with a cookout for the attendees' families on Monday.
The Sun's story includes a link to a Sports Illustrated article from last fall on Carter's incredible charity work and his organization SOUL (Serving Others through Unity and Leadership). Quinton came up with the name for the nonprofit group on his own and specifically set out not to include his own name, which frankly is mindblowing considering that he was only 19 or 20 years old at the time. Even today he's only 22 years old, and let's hope a lengthy career with the Broncos stands in front of him to help expand his platform.